Candidate Q&A: Shelby Williams runs for Place 5 seat on Plano City Council

Voters will decide who will fill two Plano City Council seats in the June 8 runoff.

Voters will decide who will fill two Plano City Council seats in the June 8 runoff.

Shelby Williams is running for Plano City Council, Place 5. He is running against candidate Byron Bradford and incumbent Council Member Ron Kelley.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Williams a list of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His responses below have been edited for publication style.

Why are you running for a Plano City Council seat?

I was recruited to run against the incumbent (and one of my opponents) by the very people who worked so hard and gave so much to get him elected just four short years ago, and are now so disillusioned and disappointed by what he has done since taking office. So many feel betrayed that he ran as one person, and has evolved into someone completely different on City Council. Having been asked to do this, I feel an enormous responsibility to the people of Plano and I will not let them down. Candidates for public office are supposed to clearly and unequivocally tell the people who they are and what they stand for, then let the people decide if that’s who they want representing them. If elected, they have a solemn duty to be that person in office, and hold true to the principles they represented. I have pledged to the overwhelming number of people who support me that I will always say what I mean, and mean what I say, and if I betray their trust I expect to be held accountable, just as all our elected representatives should be held accountable. We serve the people—not the other way around.

What are your qualifications for seeking this office?

Having spent my entire career in business, with an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, I’ve never before run for elective office, nor ever been a politician, which is one of my greatest strengths. I am an informed, engaged citizen—and there is nothing more threatening to entrenched government power. My three daughters will inherit the world we give them, and I have a duty as a father to them to give them the best world possible. That’s exactly what I’ll do and is a key component of why I am running. Candidates for public office must be informed, intelligent, engaged and dedicated. But above all, they must be principled, always act in the best interest of the people, and always remember that city money is not the city’s money—it’s the people’s money, and we owe it to them to be responsible financial stewards. I am completely transparent—what you see is what you get, and I am accountable to you, my constituents. I will reach out to you for your thoughts and concerns on specific issues. Likewise, my personal cell phone number is on my cards and my website, and you are free to access me as needed.

If elected, what would your top priorities be?

1. Transparency—People must be given the full truth (for instance, lowering the tax rate slightly while property values skyrocket equals raising taxes).

2. Limiting additional multifamily housing—Multifamily housing already makes up one-third of housing in Plano, while many of our neighbors are in the single-digits. I’ll fight to ensure that Plano remains the "City of Excellence," and that we preserve and enhance the beautiful suburban character we all love.

3. Property taxes—While my incumbent opponent touts his reduction of the tax rate over the last three years, I will work to reduce your actual tax burden, which he has in reality increased by a third since four years ago, despite inflation averaging just 2.5 percent per year, and population growth only 1 percent per year. Citizens know deep down their taxes have not been cut, and I have already testified at the Capitol for property tax reform and relief. We must adopt the effective tax rate for at least two years to freeze taxes and restore fiscal sanity.

4. Clean, pure, safe water—I will drive dutiful oversight of the North Texas Municipal Water District to ensure we have clean, pure, safe water at all times, and we avoid the need for annual chlorine burns.

If elected, would you generally support or oppose rezoning requests that include multifamily residential options, such as apartments?

As Plano has grown over the decades, the city has historically done a good job with our city planning, but we are mostly built out. Now our City Council has additional plans to build more apartments, and measured, deliberate zoning seems to have become an afterthought, let alone the congestion and density which result, and Plano already has the second highest population density of any city in Texas our size or larger. While Plano’s population has only grown an average of 1.5 percent over the last five years, our neighbors to the north are growing like wildfire, and we are the only thing standing between them and Dallas—so everyone drives through Plano. We all feel the worsening traffic situation. There’s no stopping the growth of the human race, but to preserve our treasured suburban character, growth must be managed responsibly and gradually. Moreover, much of the multifamily housing under development, with monthly rent exceeding the average homeowner’s mortgage payment, and obscuring ever-escalating property taxes without the protection of the homestead exemption, doesn’t provide the affordable housing options that many families need.

By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


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